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Recent Match Report – Gloucestershire vs Hampshire, Twenty20 Cup (England), South Group

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Gloucestershire 144 for 3 (Bracey 64) beat Hampshire 139 for 6 by seven wickets

Gloucestershire overcame Hampshire on a slow, sluggish Bristol wicket to go fourth in the Vitality Blast South Group, thanks to a canny bowling performance and an impressive 64 from James Bracey.

With Rilee Rossouw (ill), Brad Taylor and Mason Crane (both side strains) missing, Hampshire looked light on batting at the toss, and so it proved. After Aneurin Donald‘s eyecatching innings had taken them to 54 for 1 after the powerplay, their innings fell away horribly as Tom Smith found purchase on a turgid pitch, and their seamers used their usual variety of slower balls and cutters.

A target of 140 was never likely to be easy to defend, and after a cautious first four overs of the chase, the fifth broke the back of the chase and meant Gloucestershire could stay in third gear for the remainder.

The beneficiary of those absentees was Ryan Stevenson, the redhead seamer who came in for his first game of the Blast season, but he must have wished he had spent the night in the dugout as usual.

His first ball would have seen Michael Klinger caught behind but for an umpiring error, and things quickly got worse. Klinger chipped a six over midwicket, then got off strike with a three; Stevenson threw in two wides, was smashed for four twice by Bracey, including once off a no-ball, and then had him out caught off the free hit. One last boundary followed, meaning 25 had come off it, and the asking rate shot down to below six.

From that point, Hampshire were toast, as Bracey and Klinger knocked the ball around easily with little pressure on them to score. This was Klinger’s highest T20 score in just under a year – the situation could hardly have suited him better.

This pitch had seen Gloucestershire only squeeze past Kent’s 125 for 8 last week, and from the moment David Payne started to bowl his cutters in the game’s third over, it seemed clear that this pitch would suit their attack.

The conditions could only have been more perfect if they had been able to call upon the services of Benny Howell, who will miss the rest of the season after injuring his hamstring diving in the field against Surrey last week.

As cover, Gloucestershire brought in Zak Chappell on loan from Nottinghamshire, the young fast bowler with a big future and an even bigger reported salary. He struck early to dismiss James Vince – who he gave a roaring send-off – but proved the most expensive bowler on show; perhaps he was overzealous in his efforts to impress after an underwhelming debut season at Trent Bridge.

Hampshire’s selection – while hampered by injury – looked particularly strange when Chris Morris strode out to bat at number five. It was just the 14th time that Morris had batted in the top five in a T20, despite his 180 matches, and he struggled badly to eke out an unbeaten 18 off 24 balls. That they left out Tom Alsop, while having seven bowling options, seemed curious.

This was the sort of surface on which Gloucestershire tend to thrive, and it was apparent that Andrew Tye‘s influence in his several stints as an overseas player has extended beyond just his wickets. Chris Liddle spoke at the interval about the work the club’s seamers do with one another to develop more slower balls and variations, and he, Tye, and Payne went for just 78 from their 12 overs; Ryan Higgins, so impressive in the win at Surrey, never even made it into the attack.

At the interval, it had looked clear that Liam Dawson would be the key man if Hampshire were to come close, but by the time he came on the asking rate had already fallen to 5.46. He was characteristically frugal, but the game was effectively up by the time he had the opportunity to influence it.

Bracey, who has quietly impressed for the best part of three seasons in the Championship, has only recently nailed down a spot in Gloucestershire’s T20 side, but shone with a mature innings in the chase. He was particularly impressive combating the fiery Morris, nailing an early cover drive and pulling him for four in his second spell. He was a recent call-up for the England Lions, and at 22 looks like an old-school batsman with serious promise.

“I’m really pleased with how we’ve come back from a defeat,” he told Sky. “We just wanted to take the initiative with the new ball, which slid onto the bat nicely. It came off for us and made it easier for us at the back end. I’ve started to find my feet in the last few games, so it’s good to play a match-winning knock.”

Gloucestershire’s campaign thus far has been a stop-start affair, with two no-results and a tie in their first four games keeping them in the bunch of teams competing for the quarter-finals. But with three wins in their last four – and a trip to fourth-placed Somerset on Friday night looming – they are now set to be part of the South Group’s qualification narrative.



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India beat England to win inaugural Physical Disability World Series

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India defeated a spirited England by 36 runs to lift the inaugural Physical Disability World Series trophy at New Road.

India’s 180 for 7, bolstered by some mesmerising hitting at the back end of the innings, ultimately proved too steep for Iain Nairn’s side, who finished on 144 for 9.

England booked their place in the final after beating Afghanistan by 10 runs in a tense morning semi-final and were well placed at 90 for 1 in the 11th over of the final.

But when Angus Brown, just 17 last month and one of the tournament’s standout performers, was caught in the covers for 44 off Goyat, the pendulum swung India’s way.

The 13th over proved decisive. Callum Flynn, such a lynchpin for England with bat, ball and in the field, was dismissed for 28 off the first delivery of Goyat’s over, leaving the hosts 97 for 3. Two balls later, Liam O’Brien was run out without facing a ball after chancing a single through a misfield to the keeper.

When Liam Thomas and skipper Nairn followed cheaply in the 14th over, England were 105 for 6 with five wickets having fallen in 22 deliveries.

It was the decisive stage of the final after India’s innings had also been a tale of two halves.

England had bowled well to restrict India to 85 for 2 after 13 overs, making a dream start when Ben Tyler had Khan caught behind with the second ball of the innings.

A patient 47-run second-wicket partnership between Phanase (36) and skipper Keni (29) kept India ticking over.

After Keni was caught and bowled by left-arm spinner Fred Bridges, Ravindra Sante (53 from 35) and Phanase took India to 113 before the latter was run out off the final ball of the 15th over.

That brought Suganesh Mahendran to the crease and a seismic shift to the proceedings, whose remarkable 11-ball 33 included four sixes, including one monstrous hit into the top of the New Road stand.

India had more than doubled their total, with 95 coming off the last seven overs.

The result was a target that was always going to require something special against a team that had arrived fresh – and had the advantage of winning the toss, against a team tiring after a stirring 10-wicket victory in the morning over big-hitting Afghanistan. Liam O’Brien’s 34-ball 53 and 45 from Jamie Goodwin helped England post 147 for 7.

In reply, a tight spell from Fred Bridges, whose four overs yielded just 12 and two wickets, applied the squeeze, with regular wickets leaving them with an unlikely 20 required from the final over, from which just 10 came.

As the dust settled on India’s victory, skipper Nairn was philosophical in defeat.

“We’ve given it everything we had,” he said. “We’re a young team, with two teenagers in our 11, and three in the squad. India are adults, they are playing televised cricket over there, some of them – so to come into an environment like this is more normal.

“For our kids, we’re playing club cricket – some of them are playing on village greens on a Saturday. We have some very special human beings in this team.”

Goodwin added: “I don’t think you can fault the cricket that we’ve played all week. We’ve been brilliant in the field – as good as we have ever been. We probably lacked a little bit with the bat, but you can’t fault the effort that everyone has put in.

“We’re a close group of lads and that will get us through the disappointment. We’ve been beaten by a better team on the day – they’ve played five, won five.

“It was an example of power hitting at its best, a great example of what this game can offer. It can only have helped.”



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Recent Match Report – Derbyshire vs Worcestershire, Twenty20 Cup (England), North Group

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Derbyshire 181 for 2 (Godleman 92, Reece 51) beat Worcestershire 161 for 7 (Guptill 45, Critchley 4 for 36)

Worcestershire missed the chance to close the gap on Vitality Blast North Group leaders Lancashire when they lost by 20 runs away at Derbyshire Falcons, who moved into the top four.

Billy Godleman made 92 from 65 balls, his highest T20 score, and Luis Reece 51 as the Falcons posted an imposing 181 for 2.

Former Derbyshire batsman Martin Guptill hit 45 from 40 balls but legspinner Matt Critchley celebrated his 23rd birthday by taking 4 for 36 as the Rapids subsided to 161 for 7.

It looked promising for the visitors when Dillon Pennington opened with a maiden but that was the calm before the storm as Godleman reeled off a salvo of boundaries in the next two overs.

Wayne Parnell‘s first ball was launched over the long off boundary and Pennington was driven for three consecutive fours before Reece dispatched Parnell several rows back into the stand at the City End.

The Falcons took 57 from the powerplay and the runs continued to flow as the openers rotated the strike with the Rapids rarely threatening to take a wicket.

Godleman reached 50 from 29 balls and after his side had reached the halfway point on 87 without loss, the pair scored freely without taking any undue risks.

Reece pulled Joe Leach for his sixth four to bring up his 50 from 38 balls and the Rapids had to wait until the 16th over for the breakthrough which came when Reece drilled Daryl Mitchell to cover.

They had slowed the scoring rate, though Goldeman passed his previous highest T20 score of 77 by lifting Ed Barnard over wide mid-wicket for his ninth four.

Wayne Madsen drove Parnell for six but after Godleman failed to clear the man on the deep cover boundary, Leus du Plooy hit the last two balls from Pat Brown for four.

Although the Falcons looked on course for 200, the Rapids faced a tough chase which became harder when the dangerous Riki Wessels failed to respond to Guptill’s call and was run out in the second over.

Callum Ferguson cut and drove Fynn Hudson-Prentice for consecutive fours but at 47 for 1 at the end of the powerplay, the Rapids had to live up to their name if they were going to get close.

Ferguson powered Boyd Rankin high over midwicket for six and pulled the next ball for four before Guptill drove Reece for six over long-on to leave the Rapids needing 100 from the last 10.

But the introduction of Critchley proved decisive as Ferguson drove him to long-on, Guptill was bowled trying to cut, and Parnell, after driving him for six, failed to clear long-off when he tried to repeat the shot.

Ben Cox and Barnard both drove him for big sixes but the night belonged to Critchley and the Falcons, as Worcestershire came up well short.

The result means that Derbyshire jump from eighth to fourth in the group, and with just three points separating second-placed Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire in eighth, things could hardly be closer.



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I have to ‘reprogram my thinking’ as a batsman – Carlos Brathwaite

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West Indies have won only two of their last 11 completed ODIs. It’s an alarming stat on paper, but the team, according to Carlos Brathwaite, isn’t doing as badly as those results might suggest.

“I don’t think we are that far away,” Brathwaite said after West Indies’ training session on Tuesday. “We just continue to miss key points in the game. If we look back at the World Cup it is the same thing. If we look at the game the other day we weren’t cruising, but we were in a good position, and then we lost three or four quick wickets.

“We are just missing a few key moments that could have turned one or two loses into wins and make us look a little better, give us a little momentum, and start to try to win series more consistently.”

Chasing 270 in 46 overs in Sunday’s second ODI, West Indies lost a potentially winnable game when they slipped from 179 for 4 to 182 for 8. Brathwaite felt it wasn’t a lack of belief or skills that was causing West Indies to let such key moments slip, but a failure to execute those skills.

“I don’t think it is belief per se,” he said. “I think if you ask the guys in the dressing room if they believe they can win – I think they do believe they can win. The execution of that belief is lacking in key moments like I said. So, I don’t think it’s a lack of belief or a lack of passion and in most cases it’s not even a lack of skill, but just executing what we want to execute the key moments of the game, which was the case in majority of the World Cup and this series so far.”

As to what the players need to do in order to become more consistent, and not repeat mistakes, Brathwaite said they would not find time in the middle of international series to work on their games, and would need to put in that work at the levels below, with their respective domestic teams.

“It’s practice. It’s conversation,” Brathwaite said. “If I am being brutally honest, there is not much we can change on the international tour. That is the challenge for the [domestic] franchise to be able to do enough work, get enough information from the guys at the top. and start implementing stuff. On the tour we try to get the mind right, we try to, as a group, have conversations and honest conversations – not just patting them on the back but having honest conversations, sometimes even being harsh and try to become better players eventually.”

Speaking about his own game, he said he’s been focusing on his fitness, and his mindset as a batsman.

“We are having a lot of honest conversations with the coaches and the staff and I think one thing that’s kept me back is my fitness. I am working very, very hard in the past 12 to 14 months on my fitness – I believe I can get a bit stronger as well.

“I think batting-wise I have to reprogram my thinking in thinking about hitting and swiping and batting properly. I think there has been a conscious effort for me to try to help the team as a batsman and a bowler and try to give myself the best chance for the team and try to help West Indies win cricket games.”

Going back to his 82-ball 101 against New Zealand at the World Cup, Brathwaite said he had walked in with time to build his innings – a rarity for a lower-order batsman like him – and that his challenge would be to perform consistently even without that luxury.

“I had a lot of time to bat. I had a clear thought process,” he said. “I was working very hard off the pitch, as I am now, with the bat, in trying to do the right things and the simple things as long as possible. I had enough time so I could play myself in getting so at the back end when I normally come in to bat to start my innings I already had [faced] 40-50 balls.

“The challenge for me is that that situation won’t always present itself. Obviously, being at home, we have changed the combination a bit. There I played at seven [six], here at eight, nine or maybe seven – the thing I take away from that innings is the way I structured and built the innings which allowed me to kick off at the back end.”

With a full training session under their belt, Brathwaite said West Indies were in good spirits for the third ODI, and were confident of squaring the series.

“We drew the last series against England at home as well,” he said. “And then going into the last game it’s for us to get the batting in order – if we get good starts going into the back end that’ll give us a good chance.

“I think the batting has much improved especially since the T20s and from the overall batting performance in the World Cup as well. But, we didn’t close it off. We batted well in the second game as well, it was about closing it off – hopefully that happens in the next game as well and for the lower half to close the game.”



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